Healthiest food on earth

basketHappy Earth Day, folks! To celebrate the day I’ve rounded up some of the healthiest food on earth:

Kale (+ broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc)

Why: Brassica veggies prevent many forms of cancer and help to promote optimal liver function.

How: Baby kale in salads is so much better than plain old lettuce.

Blueberries

Why: Loaded with antioxidants, they prevent cancer and strengthen the immune system.

How: On top of yogurt or hot cereal. In a smoothie. As a garnish on salads. As a snack.

Garlic and onions

Why: They prevent many forms of cancer. And they make everything taste yummy!

How: Onions and garlic form the base of almost any soup or sauce made in my kitchen.

Sweet potatoes

Why: Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, which supports a healthy immune system.

How: Thinly sliced, they are delicious for dipping! Mashed with garlic and coconut oil never gets old. Cut into cubes they lend a hearty texture to soup and stir-fry.

Black beans

Why: Like blueberries, they are supercharged with antioxidants. Unlike blueberries, they are rich in protein, fiber and iron to nourish you.

How: Bean salad. Stir-fry. Black bean dip. Beside my eggs instead.

Medjool dates

Why: A healthier way to treat a sweet tooth, they contain Magnesium and Calcium.

How: Add 2-3 to a green smoothie to mask any bitterness. Combined with nuts in a food processor to make a yummy sticky crust for pies and tarts. Keep a few on hand for emergency snacking. Watch out for the large pits!

Sea vegetables

Why: Sea veggies are pretty much the only dietary source of Iodine, an important mineral required for normal thyroid function. Iodine deficiency is linked to fibrocystic breast disease and certain forms of cancer.

How: In this part of the world, sea vegetables can be found in dried form at most health food stores. Add a dried leaf or “frond” to cooking water when boiling beans or making soup to add minerals and flavor. Rehydrated and sliced, it adds an exotic touch to salads.

Almonds (+ walnuts, cashews and Brazil nuts)

Why: Nuts are full of healthy fats that do wonders for cholesterol metabolism to protect your cardiovascular system. They are also rich in fiber and protein.

How: They pack well for snacking. Or add them to cereal, yogurt, salads, baking, anywhere you want a boost of healthy fat and more protein.

Hemp hearts & Chia seeds

Why: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber, they support heart health and regulate digestion.

How: Add 1-2 Tbsp to cereals and smoothies to supercharge your energy. Sprinkle over salads.

Sesame seeds

Why: Very high in Calcium.

How: Sprinkle over salads. Use Tahini (sesame seed paste) in salad dressings, smoothies, sauces and dips.

Quinoa

Why: This grain is very high in protein and it’s gluten-free.

How: Enjoy as a hot cereal instead of oatmeal or in place of rice or pasta at dinner. Combine with beans and fresh veggies for a cold salad.

Olive oil

Why: Supports a healthy cardiovascular system by modulating cholesterol levels.

How: Drizzle over raw or cooked veggies. Use it as the base for salad dressings.

Coconut oil

Why: Contains medium chain triglycerides, a type of fat that supports a healthy body weight.

How: Use it for any medium to high heat frying/cooking. Use it in baking.

Tip: It must be unrefined (a.k.a. extra-virgin, cold-pressed). Refined coconut oil is very bad for your cholesterol levels and will cause elevated LDL.

Cinnamon

Why: Regulates blood sugar levels.

How: Add a tsp to a Tbsp to smoothies and pasta sauces. Look for True/Ceylon Cinnamon which is safe to use in larger amounts.

Turmeric

Why: This yellow spice is one of nature’s most potent anti-inflammatory substances.

How: Enjoy curried veggies and meat dishes. Fine curry powders contain a lot of Turmeric and taste amazing when mixed with a little coconut oil and garlic.

Honey or Maple syrup

Why: These are far healthier sweeteners than cane sugar, agave, or anything containing aspartame or artificial sweeteners. Honey itself has immune stimulating properties.

How: Use sparingly anywhere you need a little extra sweetness in your life. But don’t over-do it. It’s still sugar.

Green tea

Why: Anti-cancer. Anti-oxidant. Liver-loving. What’s not to love about Camellia sinensis?

How: Drink green tea. 3 cups per day.

Cacao

Why: Lowers cholesterol. Highly anti-oxidant. Yummy.

How: Use cacao powder for baking, smoothies and hot chocolate. Choose chocolate bars that are 75% cacao or higher.